Give it a good stretch

Emily Orford

When it comes to health and fitness, much of our focus can be on cardiovascular activities i.e. those that increase heart rate, burn calories and get the blood pumping. Whilst this type of exercise brings many health benefits, it’s also good to remember that developing and maintaining good muscular flexibility is important too.

Much of our day is spent hunched up in all kinds of weird and wonderful positions which can lead to stiff backs, necks, arms and legs. Taking the time to do a few stretches will help to ease the tension and help you to maintain greater flexibility.

Top tips for keeping flexible

1) Always stretch before and after exercise. Make sure your muscles are a little warm before you start to avoid injury. Muscles “shorten” and contract when we move, so it’s good to “re-lengthen” them at the end of a session.

2) If you sit down for much of your day, build in time to stretch your legs, arms and back. Regular breaks will help to aleviate tightness.

3) Focus on stretching those muscles that are prone to tightness. If you work at a computer screen, focus on exercises that open and stretch the muscles across the chest for example. Placing your hands on the base of your spine and lifting your chest is a nice option.

4) Watching the TV? Why not sit on the floor and perform a few stretches as you go. Slowly ease into the stretch over 10-15  minutes and you will be amazed how your levels of flexibility will improve. Inner thighs and hamstring stretches are a good choice.

5) Regular massages can also do wonders for achey muscles and are great for relaxation. Don’t wait before something starts to hurt, prevention is definitely better than cure!

6) If you’re a bit of cardio fan when it comes to fitness, try to build in a little yoga, pilates or similar classes into your fitness regime. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also benefit from the relaxation part too!

In The Pink Fit runs regular holistic fitness classes, take a look at our classes page for more information.